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Reference values for the water load test in healthy school children and adolescents

Journal Volume 84 - 2021
Issue Fasc.2 - Original articles
Author(s) F.J. Peralta-Palmezano 1, D.P. Escobar-Serna 2 3, J.J. Peralta-Palmezano 2 3
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Full Article
PAGES 299-303
(1) Department of Gynecology & Obstetrics, Universidad de Antioquia, Medellín, Colombia
(2) Department of Pediatrics, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogotá, Colombia
(3) Department of Pediatrics, HOMI-Fundación Hospital Pediátrico la Misericordia, Bogotá, Colombia.

Background and study aim: The water load test (WLT) is an easy and cheap tool, useful in evaluating gastric accommodation and visceral hypersensitivity. This test can be used in diagnosing functional gastrointestinal disorders, like functional dyspepsia. Our main aim was to propose reference values for the WLT. Our secondary aim was to correlate the water volume drunk with the students’ gender, age, and anthropometric measures.

Patients and methods: We performed the WLT in students aged 8 to 17 years. Students drank water ad libitum for 3 minutes or until pain, satiety or vomiting occurred. We correlated anthropometric variables with water volumes drunk. Upper and lower limit for the maximum tolerated volume were calculated as the 5th and 95th percentile. Pain and nausea were recorded before and after the test.

Results: We evaluated 99 students, with a median age (interquartile range) of 11 years 10-13 years) and 55.6 % were girls. Median water volume drank was 380 ml (190-540 ml). Boys (523 ml, interquartile range : 275-760 ml) drank more water than girls (380 ml, interquartile range : 190-570 ml) (p = 0.016). There was a significant correlation between water volume drank and students´ age, weight, height, and body mass index. Of the students that completed the WLT, 22.2 % had nausea and 30.3 % had mild abdominal pain after the test.

Conclusions: We proposed reference values for the WLT in children aged 8 to 17 years. Adverse effects are minimal, it is safe to perform, and well tolerated.

Keywords: Gastrointestinal diseases, diagnostic procedure, water consumption, reference values.

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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